Georgia State University is known for a lot of things, being a well known commuter college, being based in downtown Atlanta, as well as it’s film, teaching and nursing programs, but many forget to mention the other less fortunate residents surrounding the university, the homeless. Focusing primarily on Hurt Park and the university grounds that encompass the recreational area itself, we see a large amount of the homeless population that frequently travel to the university grounds and remain throughout the park itself. Hurt park is one of the the smallest parks throughout Atlanta, yet boasts an incredible amount of homeless residents, where many sleep, sit or socialize with the community. Why is That?
When we begin to focus on the structure and layout of the area itself a few reasons appear to attract the homeless community. One reason is it’s placement and the areas that surround it, as well as the fixed furniture which include the benches and railing throughout the park . Another is the high traffic and large tourist and visiting centers for people who visit Atlanta for the university itself, as well as near by Atlanta Street Cars and Marta stations near the surrounding area. All of these reasons make Hurt park a very attractive and important location for the homeless community to visit, with better chances for begging or just social interactions among other homeless residents.
This may sound all well and good, but how does that relate to the home owning residents or commuting students who engage or interact with the increasing homeless stigma? It’s true that many people who see someone in need of help are willing to help a homeless person by donating a dollar or a couple of cents, but how many of the same people decide to work at homeless shelters or soup kitchens? The answer is very few. Generally Atlanta’s residents who commute or own homes who pass through Hurt park may find them as more of a annoyance or intentionally remain ignorant of their issues. This could be caused by a number of reasons being; increased begging and pressure from homeless people, degradation of common park utilities through extended use and increased competition within the homeless community. People are known to be less generous if they feel intimidated or unpleasant by a situation, which causes an overall negative feeling about the issue itself, in this case being the increased homeless population around Hurt Park. This allows me to create a statement surround the issue itself.
The exact location and the placement of fixed furniture throughout Hurt park draws a large number of the homeless community, which creates a sense of discomfort and intended ignorance from the residents of the surrounding Atlanta area.